Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It’s All Fun and Games until Someone Starts Crying

In mid-march a Merriam officer described how he was within moments of pulling the trigger of his gun to defend himself against what he perceived to be a rifle.  On March 25th Overland Park officers responded to a call regarding an armed disturbance.  The caller observed a male get out of one car and approach another vehicle with what they described as a gun.  Both incidents were responded to the same way.  Officers deployed their duty weapons and made contact with the suspects of these calls.  Both incidents also involved juveniles who were playing a game that, while intended to be fun, could have ended very badly.

It is a game, or a variation of a game, that has been around for years.  It usually involves high school kids that do some form of buy-in or pay an entry fee.  Each participant becomes a target of someone else.  The “last one standing,” so to speak, gets the winning purse, or a portion thereof.

The concern, which was voiced very clearly by the Merriam officer and is repeated year after year by school resource officers, is the assumption by the caller that the involved weapon is a real gun.  In both of the referenced cases, an uninvolved, observant and concerned citizen called police for what appeared to an armed disturbance.  Until they can arrive and assess the situation themselves, the officers only know that a witness saw some type of weapon or gun.  Their response is dictated by the serious nature of the call.

It’s intended to be fun, and probably is, but the opportunity for an unnecessary shooting is high with realistic looking toy guns.  The result could be lethal.